Monday, December 14, 2009

Drive Safe...

Though I hardly ever stick to the topic, I chose the name "The Stand-up Philosopher" for this blog because I sometimes like to ask questions about the way the world works and the way the world is (or should be). I actually chose the title from a scene in Mel Brooks' "History of the World Part I", but I kind of like the idea of asking questions and provoking thought and challenging mindless conventional wisdom.

Some of my favorite questions so far have to do with should you really expect to get rich by winning the lottery, does watching TV really cause short attention spans, and is the Internet doing something to our brains besides making us think it's doing something to our brains.

I was going through my email recently. I sign up for a lot of email lists. Sometimes I just can't resist the "free report" being offered, or I think the newsletter will actually give me valuable information. I'm usually wrong, but often these free newsletters don't annoy me enough to bother unsubscribing. One really set off my "stand up philosopher" instincts though. The newsletter began with "I just wanted to remind you to drive safe this weekend" before launching into the marketing spiel for the guy's affiliate program. I deleted the email.

Why do we remind each other to drive safe upon parting? I've always wondered about that. Yes, I'm just as guilty as most of you at filling silence with words. It's the typical "I don't know what else to say but I can't let you leave without another parting comment, so I'll just say 'drive safe!'"

But really, does that add value to the relationship? Does it add value to the drive? Have you ever been in a situation in which you would stop in your tracks and grab the person in a bear hug and say something like "Thank you so much! I would have driven totally unsafe had you not reminded me to drive safe!"

Sometimes I wish we could some up with better social niceties to exchange than the ones we normally use.

I guess while we're on the subject of driving, let's address those emails our organizations like to send out around holidays reminding employees not to drink and drive. I've been around long enough to know that most people who drink and drive don't do it because a vice president of the company forgot to send out an email on Friday reminding them not to drink and drive. They also don't do it because NBC forgot to run a "The more you know" spot on Thursday.

I tend to avoid drinking and driving BECAUSE IT'S DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL, not because the sub-vice President of administrative affairs forgot to send an email reminding me not to drink and drive.

What do you think? What social niceties could you use as a parting comment rather than "Drive safe!"?
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